Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tech Column: Bag Man

by Bill Adler

Several weeks ago I wrote a column called "Bag Envy," about my quest for the perfect technology carry-bag.

My needs were obvious, though not obviously simple: Ever since I started carrying a smartphone, I've needed a way to carry it. My pocket's no good for a couple of reasons: First, smartphone screens and house keys and loose change don't mix well. Second, smartphones are big and unless your belt is snug, well, you can guess the result.

A holster that clips to my belt is an option, but honestly, it looks geeky.

Which brings me to the bag option. A bag. To carry a phone. Not only do I need a bag to carry a phone, but I've come to the conclusion that the bigger the bag, the better. Why?  I'm not entirely sure, but If the bag is too small it's a "man purse" or "murse," which I won't be carrying, no way, no how. I have a smallish bag that I used to tote around my phone and a few items that I don't really need but carry anyway, including a Surefire tactical flashlight and Leatherman multi-tool. (I have to fill the bag's compartments with something.)  This bag, handsome in its own way, has a petite look to it, and I've felt slightly uncomfortable carrying it.

Enter the iPad. The iPad has done some amazing things to improve my life, but one thing it did that I didn't expect, was to force me into a bigger bag. I first tried the Targus CityGear Mini, http://amzn.to/L1tkey, into which my iPad, iPhone, and extraneous items fit perfectly. I needed nothing else. Except. Except that the problem with the Targus CityGear is that it was perfect fit. It was iPad size. Another murse.

When I bought what's a fantastically excellent messenger bag/shoulder bag, the Crumpler Skivvy in gunmetal/black, http://bit.ly/JARDSz, I finally understood the full extent of the bag size problem. The Crumpler messenger bag is great for carrying my iPad: roomy, comfortable, waterproof. It's also way too big to carry just an iPhone on those days (most days) when I'm not toting around my iPad. Overkill for sure. Yet in ways that I can't fully articulate, the bigger bag is the bag I need to carry.

If you're feeling as insecure as I am about carrying around your tech gear in a purse-sized bag, in addition to Crumpler, your choices include Tom Bihn bags, www.tombihn.com, Timbuk2, www.timbuk2.com, SF Bags, www.sfbags.com, Rickshaw Bags, www.rickshawbags.com, and others. Just remember, it makes no sense to carry a smaller bag that holds everything you need, and fits under the seat in front of you on a plane, when a larger, heavier, more expensive bag is available.


Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, www.cleveland-park.com. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," http://amzn.to/rspOft. He tweets at @billadler.

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